Birds Of Southern California

Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)

(Female photos only at the moment). The black scoter or American scoter (Melanitta americana) is a large sea duck, 43 to 49 cm (17 to 19 in) in length. The adult female averages about 980 g (2.16 lb) and 45 cm (18 in) in length, while the adult male is on average 1,100 g (2.4 lb) and 49 cm (19 in) in length. It is characterised by its bulky shape and large bill. The male is all black with a very bulbous bill which is mostly yellow,a good relation with the common scoter. The female is a brown bird with pale cheeks, very similar to female common scoter. This is America's only black duck, although the female may have some yellow around the nostrils. This species can be distinguished from other scoters, apart from Common, by the lack of white anywhere on the drake, and the more extensive pale areas on the female. The black scoter breeds in the far north of North America in Labrador and Newfoundland to the southeast Hudson Bay. It also occurs on the Siberian side of the Bering Straits east of the Yana River. It winters farther south in temperate zones, on the coasts of the northern USA and Canada, on the Pacific coast south to the San Francisco Bay region and on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, and in Asia as far south as China.[2][4] Some birds may over-winter on the Great Lakes. This species is a very rare vagrant to western Europe; only drakes are safely identifiable out of range, so females are likely to be undetected. Exceprt from Wikipedia: